It’s extraordinary to think that instant coffee remains a popular household buy, when so many roasteries and independent coffee shops -and even the big chains – are making really flavoursome coffee available on every high street. Yet the sales are still there. And much as the owners of coffee shops and mobile coffee vans might wish that instant was the only option for home coffee, the reality is that pod machines, traditional Italian stovetop moka pots and even full-blown espresso machines are now a common sight in households around the UK. And that’s good news for the enterprising local coffee shop. Because you can satisfy your customers’ desire for top-notch coffee at home, too.
Coffee lovers who’ll take the time to watch that moka pot on the hob, or play barista with their shiny coffee machine, care about the quality of their java. They’re your dream customer. They’re both living an aspirational lifestyle and recognising that they deserve something better.
Most of them are also fighting that little battle between preparing premium coffee, and convenience and time-poverty.
Now, the truth about coffee is that after grinding it begins to lose its flavour. That’s the effect of oxygen. What you smell when you bung your beans in the grinder is, in essence, the flavour dissipating as the interior of the bean reacts to the air. The bean’s oils can evaporate and are diluted by moisture in the air. For the really discerning taste bud, you grind and serve, grind and serve. But pre-grinding has its place, especially in a busy coffee shop where speed becomes a factor.
You can be sure that the coffee in pods would have tasted far richer if they’d been ground mere moments before going into the machine.
You have, right there in your shop or in your coffee truck, the best-roasted coffee beans you can buy – we hope. Along with your smile, service and location, they’re the reason customers return to you day after day. And while, of course, you want your customers to spend their entire waking daydreaming of the moment they return to your counter and order their next espresso or macchiato, you can’t always be there for them whenever they want good coffee - especially in our current circumstances.
Unless you sell them the good stuff to grind at home. We’re amazed by the number of coffee shops we’ve visited where selling a bag of beans simply doesn’t happen, or where it’s available but never promoted.
But, how do we reach customers in these unprecedented times?
In our latest blog post, we walked you through how to start selling coffee online. There are a number of ways to offer your services online in this current climate - with many coffee shops already offering them. Costa, Greggs and Cafe Nero are all offering an online ordering service, whereby customers can collect coffee, or coffee beans, with limited social interaction. Costa is heavily investing to improve their delivery capability, in order to be prepared for if shops are forced to close.
An alternative to click-and-collect or delivery services is to create an eCommerce website and begin selling your coffee supplies to consumers.
Understandably, you may have doubts about taking the leap to a digital presence. However, through this diversification, your coffee shop can remain active and profitable.
The most enterprising and socially adept baristas and café owners get to know their regulars. Not just the drink they order most frequently and how they like it, but a little bit more besides. Like where else they drink coffee when they get off the train at the other end of their journey, whether they drink tea first thing or reach straight for a jar of instant. Whether they prefer a percolator or stovetop. Whether they grind their own beans. Whether they’ve ever considered grinding their own, for each and every cup of proper coffee they enjoy at home.
By engaging with your customers, discovering more about their priorities, and by packaging your best-roasted blends for resale, you might just find you’re serving your regulars at home, as well as giving them a pressing need to keep coming back for more.